A Train To See Buddha II

The taxi dropped us at a square, I could see some temples around, not too many but several. We started walking to the left. There was- Jai Shree Mahabodhi Temple built by some trust. We didn’t enter the temple and walked past it straight.
“It is 6:30 A.M” Gio announced.
“We have plenty of time” I responded.
This was the reason we walked straight on the road without peeking in the temples. We had a day, almost. After some time, it seemed like the place where all the temples were clustered was over and we were out of it. We saw a under-construction site, it was a Meditation Centre. It has the same architecture, that of the Chinese and Thai temples I saw in the pictures of Bodh Gaya on the internet. Cool! Then, there was the Kalchakra Stadium, the name sounds cool but it is an ordinary ground. We continued walking and we could see a white temple tower amidst the trees. We walked our way to the place to find that there was a monastery. The Gossain Ghamandi Monastery. Gossain Ghamandi is name of a monk. The bulding looked old, white washed years ago and has the streak marks of rainwater from windows to the ground. Cows were tied to their hitches in the front yard and ducks beside them. All this felt like a village, there were people sitting in the front yard and also workers going for their daily chores. The temple tower we saw was there, adjacent to the monastery. I was not sure if it was allowed to go there. Connor and Gio went up to a man sitting there and after some exchanges, they asked us to come. We put off our slippers and entered the monastery. It was indeed old, the gates and rooms inside it spoke this. There must had been a time when monks lived here, I wonder if there are still monks left. In the centre, there was a worship place. We prayed there and came out. We went to the temple, the one we saw before. It was a Shiva temple. There were around half a dozen temples, each one having a Shiva Linga, some were bigger than the others.

We spent an hour and came back to the place where the taxi had dropped us. We headed into the Tibetan monastery and temple first. It was like a house, there were cars parked. We walked deeper and took the stairs to the first floor. There it was, the temple. A large golden Buddha sat in front of us and the walls had paintings of him and other buddhist religious things. It was very colorful and vibrant to see. Below it, on the ground floor, there was a room with a enormous Buddhist Prayer Wheel. Its spindle joined the floor to the ceiling. We went in and spun it, there was a cleaner who told us that one has to spin it three times. We did it. It felt good.

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The Mahabodhi Temple

 

Then, we made our way to the main site- The Mahabodhi Temple. It marks the location where Siddhartha attained Enlightenment. After keeping our mobile phones at the door security, we entered the site. It was a large area, with greenery around and the colossal temple stood at the centre. No photographs as mobiles were not allowed. Cameras are allowed for a fee but I don’t own one. ūüė¶
We went in the temple, we had to stand in a long queue before we could make it in. There were devotees from Sri Lanka, it looked like they were on a tour, more than fifty of them, all women dressed in white, young and old. We prayed in there and walked out. Then, we went to the right where the old Bodhi Tree stands. I don’t know how old the tree is but there were pillars to support its heavy branches. Undoubtedly, it was more than a hundred years old. Maybe more. Beside it, there was the Jewel Walk. It was a platform with decorated with lotus flowers. Siddhartha spent the week after Enlightenment at this place and lotus flowers sprung up where he put his foot. That’s it. We roamed in the premises for more than an hour. We watched the gardens, wondered how the chameleon changes color and when to book the return ticket.

 

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The Mahabodhi Vihar

 

We stood by the Mucalinda Lake and laughed. There was Buddha statue, he sat under a huge snake’s hood. The snake looked pretty villainous and I mentioned this more than two times while we were there. Later, we came out of the Temple and explored the market just out of it. Connor bought a miniature prayer wheel powered by solar energy (cool) and Kevin bought a key chain and a mini statue. Gio bought a Buddha’s portrait.
Me? I don’t buy anything for a memory, I didn’t when I visited Chandrapur, Jodhpur, Vadodara, Rajkot and Ahmedabad. I didn’t this time, too. Only memories in form of stories and my love, photography.

TO BE CONTINUED…

A Train To See Buddha!

If you look at India’s map, there are 29 states in the country. Look at the eastern (right side of the map) part and you will find a state named ‘Bihar’. Just adjacent to it, there is Uttar Pradesh, right now I am there in Varanasi. In Bihar, find Bodh Gaya- a dot in the lower region. Or you can just simply search ‘Bodh Gaya’ on the internet. A few days ago, on Friday, to be precise, we were planning to travel somewhere. We have Saturday and Sunday off from college and Monday and Tuesday were holidays. First, we thought of Lucknow but the news said that the city is stricken by Swine flu and I don’t think I am ready to take the H1N1 flu. I searched the internet for more tourist places nearby. I found out Bodh Gaya.

Bodh Gaya is a religious site and place of pilgrimage associated with the Mahabodhi Temple in Gaya district in the Indian state of Bihar. It is famous as it is the place where Gautama Buddha is said to have obtained Enlightenment under a tree which is known as Bodhi Tree.

We consorted on a one-day trip plan. The plan was like this- We leave at half past eight in the evening, reach the destination, see-sight all day and come back the same day. I checked the tickets, there was the last train of the day (August 12, 2017) at 8:30 P.M. Kevin was sitting beside me and we were sure that this is the best for us. We checked the reaching time- 4:35. Everything was fine but still, we had to get permission from our homes respectively. So, I didn’t book the tickets.
Train to see Buddha

August 12, 2017
Sunday

We had to decide on the trip. The train was scheduled in the evening. Everyone was ready and I booked the tickets. In the afternoon, at around 3 P.M, we were excited about the trip and were sitting in Gio’s room, just chilling. And I told them all, a fact that I had had recently came to know. The time of reaching Gaya was 1 A.M. and what we saw was the travel time. I told them. It was trouble. Now we would reach at 1 A.M with nothing to do at a strange place. Gio opened the railway ticket booking website and checked again. It was it. And then, Connor started blaming it on me.
“I wonder how you travel? You don’t know how to book a ticket!” he mocked.
Okay, I laughed and said- “Man, I didn’t see it, it was a misapprehension”
“You’re an idiot” he repeated this several times cutting in between my sentences deliberately.
“Kevin was with me, we both saw, we are tricked-out in haste” I defended.
He was inviolable. This was maddening.
“OK, just stop that, Don’t piss me off,” I said and I felt me getting angry. It was after a while. I don’t get furious every other day, there are very few things/actions that annoy me and this was one. I accept that it was my fault, but blaming it solely on me is somewhere wrong. ¬†Blaming is otiose, if you can’t do it, don’t blame. If you can, do it.

7:00 P.M

We all got ready and left the hostel for the railway station. We reached the station at 8:10 P.M and there was plenty of time left for the train. We boarded the train when it arrived. We sat on our seats and talked. Nobody amongst us was carrying a Power Bank, so we had to avoid using our phones without purpose. We talked for a while and waited the time to pass. At 11 or so, I tried to get some sleep.

August 13, 2017
1:35 A.M

We reached Gaya Junction. The train was half an hour late and it was fine. Now, we had to wait on the station till morning. We sat, talked, slept, roamed in and out of the waiting room and the sun rose. We left the station at 6:00 A.M and headed directly to Bodh Gaya. Bodh Gaya is 16 Kms away from the railway station. I looked out of the taxi and it seemed like we are getting out of the city to the outskirts as there were fields and green patches on either side of the road. After half an hour, we were there.

Second Year!

I stepped my foot in Varanasi¬†on July 26, 2016- that as last year. It’s been a year here. The first year of college is over and now I am a Sophomore. Let me tell you some things.

In the last two months, when I was doing an Internship in Varanasi itself, I used to go to the college library every day. Most of the summer afternoons, one could find me sitting there with a book. Or at some times, with my laptop. I started liking the environment there. There were many other like me who were the daily visitors. I recognize them by face and I think they do know me too. Now, It’s been a week into the second year.
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We have classes from the morning to the afternoon, sometimes extending up to the early evening, according to the schedule. I wake up at around 7:30 every day, even when he classes start from 9 or 10. I don’t like waking up late, it mismanages many things. We have four core subjects and out of them, three have experiments that need to be carried out in the lab. Burden. But overall, it’s smooth and not uncontrollably hectic. I have sufficient time left for myself in the noon and night. I still like going to the library and I¬†am constantly planning how to save time and go there to catch up with my ongoing book. I am also working in the Institute Newsletter Team- IIT BHU Connect. It’s all about writing and journalism. Regarding that, I visited the Malviya Centre for Innovation Incubation and Entrepreneurship (MCIIE) today to meet with the Manager and ask him some questions. I am working on the story about MCIIE that is going to be published¬†in the upcoming issue. I noted down most of the things he said. I found him an open and honest¬†person. He talked about everything at length, not worrying about time or anything else. It was about 30 minutes.

Then, I had to meet a Professor to talk about the Exploratory Project. We have to do an Exploratory Project in the third semester, basically a working prototype in our engineering field. So, I was there waiting for him to come to his chamber after taking his classes.

I came back to my room in the evening and I am doing this. It’s 07:46 P.M and I am going to have dinner after 8. As I said, let’s write more now!

Life on fast pace

So, I am back in Varanasi, waking every morning on time, getting ready for classes and leaving the hostel for the college. It’s been a week here. But I didn’t get time to write. There were always some problems. Some days the hostel LAN connection was not working, other days my state of mind denied. As I already knew, life here is very busy. I do the classes, eat, sleep, play etc. Then, thanks to my summer time here, I have started liking the library more than my room. I want to go to the library every day but can’t. Most of the days I manage. Recently, I completed reading ‘The Alchemist’ and I have jumped over ‘Oliver Twist’. ‘Oliver Twist’ is a literary classic and very long indeed. 500 pages to go, I am on 28. And I am on it. I ordered my gaming headphones today, 10 minutes ago and I am waiting for them. Everyone who sees my mouse only praises it. It looks really cool. ūüôā

I will try to write consistently now.